Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Scott's (et al) Visit Day 2 and 3 ( Key West )

If you have been following our blog, you know that the day after we went for a sail on Florida Bay (and were surrounded by vicious dolphins and very high prices for gasoline) it rained.  It continued raining all the next day so we stayed on the boat.  But we were NOT unproductive.  Scott spent time teaching his pirate dad some of the finer points of Photoshop.

For instance he taught me how to turn photos which are poorly exposed, poorly composed and have tired and uninteresting subject matter such as this:

By using just a few simple keystrokes:
  1.   Click on Photo  
  2. Press delete
  3. Answer "yes" I want to delete this photo
  4. Answer "yes" I really, really want to delete this photo
  5. Answer "yes" I am sure I want to delete this photo.
  6. Pound on keyboard screaming "delete this stupid photo, you sonuvabitch"
  7. Click on "Sorry, I didn't mean to get angry, I won't do it again."
  8. Click on "Please Microsoft Windows do not update at this time."
  9. Click on "Okay, I'll wait. But Please don't shut down."
  10. Click on "No, I promise I won't be angry if you go ahead and shut down anyway."
  11. Press power on - after windows has lost my data and erased two programs and negated my virus program so it can use its own virus program which has failed because I repowered my computer.
  12. Find new photo, press 372 different keys in just the right order to insert second photo in blog.
  13. Claim that I just turned the first photo into the second photo  with just a few simple keystrokes and I understand now why anybody with any sense in his head has a MAC.

 Scott taught me how to simply turn that old worn out photo into this new, improved photo with a few simple keystrokes.  Amazing, isn't it?

And in exchange, we sat down with him and finally explained about the Birds and the Bees.  You may take this as fair warning, Amber.

 But the next day the sun came out, and the breezes blew and it was warm so we rented a car and headed for Key West.
They made me sit in the back so this was the only view I had.  

Until I discovered there were side windows in our rental car.  We get nothing but the best you know.  So I took this picture of Pigeon Key.

There's a lot of history at Pigeon Key, but nobody seems to know what it is.  But there's a lot of money collected so they can find out.  

We didn't get lost - because there's only one road and we finally got to Key West where we were welcomed.  Officially.  Not a warm welcome, just a sign.

In my mind, a cold beer is a much better warm welcome.

The first place we stopped was at the Southernmost House in the Continental United States.  It said so right on the sign and we were really impressed.  It said a lot of other stuff, too, but I didn't bother to read it, I was so giddy about the whole concept. I mean, really, think about it.

And here it is, not just a sign, but the actual Southernmost house in the Continental United States.  Wow.  We wanted to move right in, but the gate was locked so we moseyed a little further down the street.

And we saw this sign.  It seems that somebody built another house and it was 18 inches further south.  We really were let down, cause we thought we'd already been there and then we realized that we'd accomplished and even bigger triumph.  Wow and double WOW. 

And here it is the Southernmost, southernmost house in the United States.  We checked and there aren't anymore.  Unless we annex Cuba or something and maybe build a bridge.  Ha.  Wouldn't THAT surprise them.

Here's Suzi taking a picture of MILE ZERO.  It isn't really a mile - it's just a big green can.  But we thought it had significance and that you should know about it in case you're ever there and don't have your camera with you.  

Here it is, up close.  You could see they spent a lot of money decorating it and getting all the letters just right.  They did forget the space between Key and West, but nobody was there to point that out to, so if you're reading this and this is your green can, please be so advised.  I'll probably be checking back.

Right near the Mile 0 Green can we came upon a long line of people all of whom were waiting in a long line except the one's in front who were taking pictures of another big can type of a thing.  We thought about getting in line but then decided we didn't know what the line was for so we walked past the line and this is what we saw:

You can read what it says so I'm not going to repeat it here - but I can tell you one thing - it's another lie. Cause you can stand behind it.  And it's not even a point.  A point is something really, really tiny.  It has no length, no depth, no width.  I learned that in High School Geometry.  I am really starting to get disappointed in Key West.  We've been here maybe ten minutes and been deceived twice.

Here's Scott standing about eight feet south of the Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S.  

And the trolley driver was announcing to all his passengers, "And here you will see the Southernmost point in the Continental U.S., and over there is the Southernmost  trash can in the Continental U.S.  And right there (and he pointed right at me) is the Southernmost guy wearing a Captain's hat in the Continental U.S."  I had him there, it's a Greek Fisherman's Cap.  Another lie.  But then he just drove off.  In Key West they're awfully loose with the truth.  I'll have to remain on guard.  

This was inlaid into the sidewalk.  I liked it.  You can like it, too, if you want.  

A couple of blocks away is the Nude beach, well, to be perfectly accurate, a topless beach.  The sign said, "No Top, No Problem."  I should have taken a picture of the sign but my mind was on other things.

Here are the people on the beach.  I guess the sign was referring to hats.  

The water was cold, but there wasn't much wind so there weren't any waves so this guy just paddled his surfboard.  He may have been trying to escape to Cuba.  

They posted birds on all of these old pilings to guard our southern border.

I thought these birds were guard birds, too.  But it just turned out they were showing off about how brave they were standing near the edge.

I think they were pretty gullible.  (Did you see that one coming?)

We were trying to come up with a single word which would describe Key West.  The best we could come up with was "Quirky."  What other town do you know of where they have free range roosters walking around wherever they want.

This one may have been gay.  When he crowed he said," ANYCOCKLEDOO"

When I pointed that out, he just turned disgustedly and strode away.

There are unique art decorations in yards and on homes in Key West.  I liked this one so much I took its picture.

And then moved closer and took another.

And then we met James Chapman , the best friend we have in Key West.  He's the only person we know in Key West so he gets that designation.  He was the owner of the fence on which were the previous pictures. He asked if we had seen his tricycles.  We said  "No." So he unveiled them for us.

His tricycles were decorated and played music and had lots of lights.
He said that he had lived all his life in Key West.  He was born in the house across the street, the son of a 60 year old father and a 14 year old mother.   I guess that's how old they were when he was born. 

He lived on Chapman Lane - named after his family which had been there for many generations.

He said he rode his tricycles downtown in the evenings, all lit up and playing music to entertain the tourists and the locals as well. We saw him in the evening and he wasn't lying.  At least there's one soothsayer in Key West.

We walked further down the street - see why we called it "Quirky?"

And we came upon this street sign so we know our good friend James was not fabricating, unless, of course, he fabricated this sign.

Another rooster.  They are all over Key West.

I don't know what to say about this.  

This is typical of many of the homes in Key West.  

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  We came to Key West twice, the first time with our friends Sally and Andy and the second time with Scott.  The pictures kind of all got in together and so if you see us with people who don't look like Scott, they would be the aforementioned Sally and Andy.  It would also explain why you see us in various outfits.  That's it.  That's my dirty little secret. 
 Now I can go back to my regular not furtive font.

Same rooster, different outfit.

There's lots of history in Key West, but it all happened in the past, and we're now kind of people so if you're a history buff, you're reading the wrong blog.

The flowers are gay, too.

So I gave him a buck and told him a dirty joke.  He gave it back and told me to go away.

We went to bars and had beers. This one is called the Lazy Gecko.  We were inside looking out.  It's famous for its Two Dollar Drafts which cost Three Dollars.  It's next door to Sloppy Joes, which is another famous bar in Key West.  All the bars may be famous.

One of our favorites is the Hogs Breath Saloon.

That's me trying to appear inconspicuous because there's a Webcam pointing directly at me and I fear that the NSA is watching.  Or at least could be.  So I didn't think it would be a good idea to blow something up or declare my profound love for Cuba.

There's Andy and Sally.  Andy is on the phone to friends telling them to look at us on their computer.  I was suspicious he was turning us in, so I put on my dark glasses.  That's me on the left.  Pretty clever, huh?

Back out on Duval Street where everything is happening, and we are happening people so here we are.

 There are many, many people in Key West who are not real.  And I mean that.  Really. The guy on the left isn't real.  In case you were guessing.

Maybe you can tell better here.  The one he took of me didn't come out.

Another gay rooster.  You may wonder how we know they are gay.  There are no hens. Not a one in the whole town did we see.

I'll bet they wouldn't even allow something like this in our old home town of Warren, PA.

It's a fancy gate.  Outside of that there is nothing more that need be said regarding it. So I'll take this opportunity to direct you to one of our other sites so you can purchase something:

This is a big fancy church in key west.  Right across the street are a bunch of stores which sell stuff like...

this.  For $4,000.00.  (Except for the decimal point problem we would have purchased one for our son-in-law, John, who likes giraffes.)

and this cutie.  Everyone should have one.  He scares away the things that go bump in the night and protects your rum supply.

I forget what this place was.  But it had merchandise, and it sold stuff.

You guessed it, another rooster - this one has his head one the bottom.  Rare.  You don't get photos like this in other blogs.

You may surmise that this is an old movie theater.  Go ahead.  Surmise away.  We'll wait.

I mentioned before that there was a lot of history here.  Truman stayed here, as well as Eisenhower, Kennedy and several women who were very important to history but whose names, what they did and to whom they did it are still top secret.

Around the corner was a street.  This doesn't happen all the time.  Sometimes there's an ocean.  But you can usually tell.  If you can't, don't go to Key West alone.

I just don't know.

I'm starting to like pirates almost as much as mermaids.

Banyan trees.  Or tree.  

I had to have a really big photo to get these two in.  That's really Suzi down there - not photoshopped.

More of the not real people.  Interesting fact: sometime around 1880, Key West was the wealthiest city, per capita, in the US.  It's because there were many sunken ships in the area and the locals just took the booty.  That's what these folks are depicting.  Somewhere around the 1930's Key West was poor again.  The Taxman Cometh.

Real pirate, complete with wooden leg and parrot.

Not a real person.  For those of you who are easily deceived.

The fish is fake , too.

Part fake, part real.  The Suzi part is real.  But Suzi's parts are not.

This poor guy, innocently fishing, completely unaware that a huge ship is bearing down upon him and a crane about to clobber him.  We've have found that it is easy to become blissfully unaware.

Sally, on the left, real. Pirate in the center, not real.  Andy on the right, jury's still out.

(L)Fake. (C) Still Fake (R) Very real

I like this photo.  Do you?

Haven't decided if I like this photo or not.  It needs a nugget.  Maybe a hot babe in an itsy bitsy.  Course, that would improve any photo.

All of you who have been wondering where Mayberry's Floyd the Barber disappeared - he opened for business in Key West.

A fixer upper.  Not the ladies, the house.

Probably beyond suitable repair.


Quirky is everywhere.

Another gay rooster. You can never have too many rooster pictures.

I'm very much in favor of it, but do not understand it, but all, and I mean ALL, of the manikins in Key West are seriously enhanced.

Suzi wanted me to mention, and I, of course, forgot, that while we were in this store we ran into an old friend from Warren, PA. It was Art Faix and his friend Jeanie.  We were so surprised we forgot to take their picture.  So try to imagine.  And this addition has corrected my forgetfulness.

We saw a lot of homes and buildings with no paint.  At first, we thought of opening a paint store, but maybe they have some kind of wood which doesn't need painting.  So much for that idea.

This, on a scooter.  Only in Key West.

Purty flowers.

Wanna be purty flowers.
Dancing naked lady statues.  Really, really, only in Key West.

5 people, three fake.  This may be the ratio throughout American society. 

We were trying to get everybody to look up - but it didn't work.

4:23 PM 

Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center - worth going to.  Learned a lot of stuff.  Suzi remembered most of it.  I didn't so I can't tell you.  I can tell you however that you're about two thirds the way through this particular episode, so if you're going to continue, I would strongly recommend you stretch and pour yourself another rum.  It doesn't get any better.

Don't read this.  Just stretch and get the rum recommended under the previous photo.  I don't want to have to keep telling you.

I like lighthouses.  They're like regular houses, but with fewer calories.  I've said that before, and I'm going to keep saying it until I get a chuckle and not a groan.

I heard that!

Only one more lighthouse photo and then we break for lunch.

This is the last lighthouse photo in this episode of our blog.

At the Blue Heaven Restaurant and bar they have everything.  Including my two dollars.

and roosters.

and more roosters.  Keep your napkin over your food - they can fly over at any given time.  EEEYYYEWWW.

While we waited for our table at the bar, Scott fell asleep.

And here's Suzi "whip out the map" MacDonald in a completely different restaurant with a completely different outfit.  Just to see if we all are paying attention. She'll find us though, she's got the map.

The waitress came around and asked what we wanted to eat - I pointed to this guy and said, "I'll have the chicken special."
The waitress, shocked and chagrined that I would even think such a thing...

and pointed out the sign.

and made us go back to the bar and wait for a different table with a different waitress and told me never to do that again.  Suzi took the opportunity to further explain to Scott some of the finer points of the Birds and the Bees speech.  Scott pretended not to listen.

I took the opportunity to take photographs around this most interesting establishment while this guy kept a close eye on me.

Built into the bar was an old clawfoot bathtub.  Bathtub gin, maybe?

And an obviously liberal chair, leaning somewhat to the left.
  Also a model of a square-rigged vessel hanging on a string with the mizzen mast broken.  I didn't do it.

But now, even the cat was keeping a suspicious eye on me.  Man, one little transgression.

So we finally got our table back.  And we waited.

and waited.  Here's Scott on his iPhone researching to verify some of the recent B & B information that we had given him.  He's thinking, "By golly, is Amber going to be surprised about this!"  (Do people say "By golly" anymore?  What is a 'golly' anyway?)

Here's what Suzi ate.
  Here's what I ate.  See? No chicken.  And there weren't any cows roaming around the restaurant.  Believe you me, I checked before ordering this time.

  While we ate we were serenaded by this guy.  He was pretty good, too.  If you ever go to the Blue Heaven restaurant tell him Larry says 'hi.'  He won't know who I am unless you explain about the chicken incident.
  He lives, I say.  He LIVES.

In Key West there are many street performers.  Every evening they all come down to the waterfront and crowds of people from cruise ships, buses, boats and tall unicycles come to watch.

They all work for tips.  Some are pretty good.

Some start pretty young.

Some start very, very young.

Some don't even perform, they just squat and talk on the phone.  I tossed her a buck.  She gave me a dirty look.  So did Suzi. 

Some of the street performers look very hungry.  This one ate fire.

So they made him put on a straight jacket.

It took two guys, he almost got away.

He screamed for mercy.

But they chained him up.  I think that guy on the right is Dick Chaney.

And it was so cruel, he staggered and fell.

And just laid there.  That's when I stole his tip bucket.

And gave it to this guy and begged him to get a different outfit.

This guy sang and played pretty good, but he didn't have that half-starved look required to impart a sense of pity from spectators so they will offer tips.

Can a talent be just standing very, very still?  This is a real person, not one of the many fake ones. Maybe she has aspirations.

I liked this guy.  He looked like a pirate.  He had few teeth.  

And it was a real sword.  He passed it around so I checked.

You guessed it, he was a Sword Swallower.  I have trouble with that.  Not the swallowing part but when to pronounce the 'W'.

'W's are really sneaky that way.  I mean, there's the word 'two.'  It's there but you don't say it.  But it pops up in the word 'One' and it's not even there.
And it's pronounced Double You. There isn't any other letter that could get away with that.  You can't put two 'U's in a word and have it make any sense at all.

Suuord Suuallouuer.  See? Makes no sense.

Neither does what this guy is doing. 

But there are many things people do that make no sense.  This was real though.  It wasn't a trick.  Not like the guy who used to catch a bullet in his teeth.  I knew that was a trick right off.  'How?' you might ask?  Just answer the question, "How did he practice to do it for the first time?" 

But this guy was for real, he belongs to an association and everything. I checked:
They don't mention a thing about the problem with 'W's though.  I can't find anyplace to look that up so I guess it will still have to remain a mystery.

I know that this 'W' mess has been quite stressful for you and so I offer you this calming photo of a lovely schooner under sail to take the pressure off before we jump back into the thick of things.

From where I stood watching the sword guy, I could see someone really tall shoving something down his throat.

Moving in closer I saw he was standing on a chair and fake shoving a balloon down his throat.  What a let down.  What a mockery of real talent.  He didn't even dress like a pirate.  Right in front of him was a bucket.  On the bucket was a sign.  It said, "TIP BUCKET."  So I did. 

This guy took no chances and sat on his tip bucket as I approached.  At least I hope it was a tip bucket.  He sat on it the whole time and I noticed he never had to go to the bathroom.  He was bald, as you can see and had a question mark on his head.  I thought this was odd and wondered why.

This guy claimed he had all the answers, so I asked him why anybody would get a question mark tattooed on his head.  He said he had no idea.  Fraud.

 This guy had one of the most peculiar problems I've ever seen.  He couldn't seem to keep his feet on the ground.  You can see he almost made it in this photo...

when suddenly and inexplicably, they sprang right back up in the air.

  and stayed there.  Most unusual.

Another guy came in and tried to help him, when suddenly it started happening to him, too.

He tried all kinds of stuff but just couldn't do it.  

I had to leave.  I thought it might be catching or something.  I'm too old to be walking around like that.  And besides, what if I wanted to scratch my nose or something?

This lady was blowing a conch, holding a torch and advertising some kind of underarm stuff.  I didn't want to catch what she had either, so I moved on.

This one had a cute butt, so I took her photo.

Scott and I each took a photo of this guy, one horizontal and one vertical so my readers could have a choice.  I feel it's important to be able to choose for yourself, so you can look at either one.

He's like a 'one man band.'  When they find out about my terrible humor I will probably be the 'one man banned' in Key West.  

This guy was balancing on a tight rope.  Once you're up there it's important to know how to do that.  If you try it you should have a net or lots of mattresses as a precautionary measure, until you get the hang of it.

It was starting to get dark so the performers needed torches so we could see.  Very accommodating.

So we said goodbye to Key West.

The fog rolled in.

On our way back to the car we passed the dancing naked ladies again.

The guy on the ground isn't real either.  I know a lot of you thought it was me.

This guy was painting a picture of the naked ladies dancing.

 And we walked past Sloppy Joe's on our way back to the car, but we're far too old for the bar scene at night.

This is another nude beach - as you can see, it is, indeed, completely unadorned.

And this ends our tour of Key West.  It's really long and if you made it this far, I applaud your perseverance.  Maybe you should be the one to pursue the 'W' problem.

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